In-Depth Guide on Buying a Pre-loved Smartphone
Not all of us have sufficient moolah to buy a brand new smartphone. As such, some of us resort to buying used or, as some sellers would love to call it, pre-loved handsets either from an acquaintance or from one of the gazillion sellers on various online buy-and-sell platforms. If it’s really inevitable to go down this road, here are some tips that may be useful on your next second-hand smartphone purchase.
On our previous post, we’ve covered some of the basic stuff that you need to keep in mind when purchasing used gadgets online. While that may be helpful on most, if not all of your transactions, we thought of giving you guys a more specific set of tips when you’re planning to buy a used smartphone, particularly from an online seller.
Ask for further information, preferably during meetups. While some sellers provide all of the information you need to know about the smartphone that they’re selling, some of them don’t. So never be ashamed of asking related questions about the product that you’re eyeing before you make a payment.
Here are some FAQ that worked for me when purchasing smartphones in the past:
Don’t expect all of the sellers to be totally honest with their answers because, after all, they just want to close the deal as soon as possible, even to the extent of lying through their teeth. So while asking a set of questions regarding the product may help, it’s always best to verify their answer by inspecting the device more thoroughly.
Research on the device. Not all devices are created equal, and in some cases there are units that belong to a batch that suffers from an issue that are not present on other models. As such, we highly suggest that you research about the model of the device that you’ll be purchasing and take note of the IMEI/Serial numbers of the devices that were known/reported to be inferior to other model.
Once you have that information, here are a set of codes that you can type on the device to see if it belongs to the “bad batch”.
*#*#4636#*#* – Phone, Battery & Wi-Fi Information, as well as Usage Statistics and Battery History
*#06# – check IMEI number
*#12580*369# – complete software and hardware information
*#*#1111#*#* – FTA software version
*#*#2222#*#* – FTA HW Version
Take a really close look at the device. Whenever a good sum of money is involved, it never hurts to be a little extra careful before you make any sort of payment. That being said, you should really be keen on inspecting the device for any damages or possible red flags that was not mentioned on the seller’s post.
One of the best ways to check if the smartphone you’re going to buy is in tip-top condition (unless otherwise stated on the seller’s post) is to have an idea of how a brand new one look like. You can do so by visiting websites, or by doing familiarizing yourself with the device (same model that you’re going to buy) by going to a retailer store or a one of the local telcos that usually display the device that they are offering.
Double-check warranty claim. Checking the warranty of the device is probably the easiest thing to do in all of the tips we have here, if you’re buying an iPhone that is. You just need to get the serial number of the unit and key in that information on this website and you’re done.
If you are, however, looking to buy a pre-loved Android smartphone, then it’s a little bit tricky. You can always ask the seller for a receipt or a warranty card for the unit, but other than that there’s really no easy way to see if the smartphone really does have a few months of warranty on it.
Verify if the phone is rooted/jailbroken. In most cases, the benefits of rooting/jailbreaking a smartphone outweighs the drawbacks of not doing it. Besides, if the seller is knowledgeable enough, then chances are they’d be able to return the phone to its original state.
There are, however, instances that rooting/jailbreaking may potentially affect your decision on whether or not you should buy the device, especially if the seller claims that the unit still has warranty. In any case, here are some of tips you can do to check if it the unit is rooted or not.
Check if the phone is GSM (Galing Sa Magnanakaw). As the old adage goes, if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. If you see a smartphone that doesn’t come with a box, charger and earhphone, and has a lower-than-usual price tag, then it’s likely that you’re dealing with a snatcher.
Here are some ways you check if the smartphone is stolen:
Look out for any issues with the display. Unless you’re buying a feature phone, you should really be anal about the screen of the device you’re going to purchase. While scratches and shattered glass are easily identifiable, there are other issues that you need to look in to.
Here are some of things you can do to ensure that the display has no issues.
Check the condition of the ports and slots. The state of the ports and slots are not as easy to check as compared to other external components of the device. Thus, it’s best to have the necessary things handy during meet-ups.
Diagnose the connectivity components. Certified geeks will have no problems identifying an issue with the handset’s wireless features. If you are, however, just a regular user, then this cheat sheet would come in handy to test the handset for any issue.
Try to connect to Wi-Fi hotspot if applicable.
Try to transfer a file over Bluetooth
Test the battery (or at least have an idea of its status). Apart from doing a visual inspection and testing out if it charges properly, there are other ways to check the condition of the battery of the smartphone that you’ll potentially going to buy.
Type *#*#4636#*#* on the phone’s dialer then select “Battery Information”. In there, you’ll have an overview of the unit’s battery and other useful information about it.
Check the camera. There’s actually not a whole of things you can do about the camera. Usually it’s either the smartphone that you’re going to buy does or doesn’t have a good camera. In any case, it’s still best to check the camera unit just to be sure that it doesn’t have any issues.
Doing all of these precautionary tips does not guarantee that you’ll have a perfect pre-loved smartphone. Regardless of how careful the owner is on their device, there will always be uncontrollable factors that are part of the normal wear and tear.
These guidelines will, however, allow you to check for any issues that may be caused by the seller and will, ultimately, help you arrive at an educated conclusion on whether to buy the device or not.